Antibiotics is one of the most used and relied upon drug used by people all over the world today. Though used to cure many sick patients, there are certain cautions before using antibiotics.
What is Antibiotics?
Antibiotics also called antibacterials, are a type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the common cold or influenza; drugs which inhibit viruses are termed antiviral drugs or antivirals rather than antibiotics.
Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply.
Antibiotics revolutionized medicine in the 20th century. However, their effectiveness and easy access have also led to their overuse, prompting bacteria to develop resistance. This has led to widespread problems, so much as to prompt the World Health Organization to classify antimicrobial resistance as a “serious threat [that] is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country”. Today, Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply. Overuse of antibiotics is a major modifiable cause of increases in drug-resistant bacteria. At least 30% of antibiotic courses prescribed in the outpatient setting are unnecessary, meaning that no antibiotic is needed at all. Most of this unnecessary use is for acute respiratory conditions, such as colds, bronchitis, sore throats caused by viruses, and even some sinus and ear infections
Antibiotics and help prevent or treat some infections. But if you use them for wrong reason, they may cause unnecessary harm. It is highly recommended that you talk to a doctor to make sure you only use antibiotics for the right reasons – and at the right time.
Following are the questions worth asking before using antibiotics:
- Do I Really need antibiotics?
Antibiotics fight bacterial infections, like strep throat, whooping cough and symptomatic bladder infections. But they don’t fight viruses—like common colds, flu, or most sore throats and sinus infections. Ask if you have a bacterial infection.
- What are the risks?
Antibiotics can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and more. They can also lead to “antibiotic resistance”—if you use antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may not work when you do need them.
- Are there simpler, safer options?
Sometimes all you need is rest and plenty of liquid.
- How much do they cost?
Antibiotics are usually not expensive. But if you take them when you don’t need them, they may not work for you in the future— and that may cost you a lot of time and money.
- How do I safely take antibiotics?
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take them exactly as directed, even if you feel better.